Our Guidelines for Guest Writers

When you reflect on your own, you are accountable to yourself. When you blog, you are accountable to yourself and others. Others need to hear your voice.” – George Couros, The Principal of Change

MiddleWeb welcomes guest article submissions from teachers, school leaders, bloggers and book authors with instructive things to say about teaching, learning and leading in the middle grades.

Browse our past articles and you’ll see that we’re interested in a wide variety of topics, from technology infusion to social-emotional learning, from student-driven classrooms to the Common Core, parent-school connections, cutting-edge teaching & leadership strategies, and the teaching life.

Have you written an article for ASCD or similar publications and received a note saying, “We liked it, but we just don’t have space”? Try us! Our mission is to share the voices and insights of educators with a grades 4-8 focus.

(Notes: We do not respond to solicitations from writers working for online-marketing websites. If you are more interested in reviewing books, see these guidelines.)

Tips and guidelines

1. Read our site. Look at some of the articles we’ve published. You’ll soon get a sense of the writing style we prefer. Our chief guideline is the same for articles, book reviews and interviews: Tell our visitors what YOU would want to know if you were the reader, looking for ideas, inspiration and collegiality.

2. Don’t obsess about length — we suggest 800-1200 words for articles, but if we feel you’ve written too much or too little, we’ll suggest ways to expand or contract.

3. Write in a relaxed, personal voice. Be professional but don’t feel compelled to write your MiddleWeb post like a grad school paper or journal article. Humor is good. Graphics, photos, video and other multimedia might be appropriate. We will select some if you don’t provide. Embed links as needed.

4. Avoid harsh sarcasm or personal attacks. But feel free to criticize ideas and practices and offer a better way.

5. We love writers who tell stories from your own experience as an educator (or learner or parent, etc.) and relate those stories in ways that will be useful to educators and others. If you’re writing about your teaching or leadership practices, remember that your audience is less interested in your professional life than they are in what they can learn from your professional experience. It’s not much fun to read an article about education where the writer is mostly swimming in his or her own fishbowl, oblivious to the outside world. That said, articles about the teaching (or leadership) life that build empathy with others can be effective.

6. If you are a published author of books related to education and the middle grades, we will consider an excerpt or spinoff article. If we agree to publish, we’ll feature your book cover (and link to book site) as part of the post.

While MiddleWeb is not in a position to pay for articles, we can promise visibility and readership. Many of our posts are picked up by editors of other online publications and services, including the popular SmartBrief education newsletters. Attention-grabbing posts will garner 4000-5000 reads or more.

School on Old Typewriter's Keys.

Other writing tips

In an interview with Matt Huston in Psychology Today, Harvard professor Steven Pinker shared this insight from his book, The Sense of Style (Viking, 2014).

The main impediment to good writing, says Pinker, is that people “assume too much, use jargon and abbreviations that their readers have no way of deciphering, fail to present background information that’s critical to understanding the passage, and describe things at too high a level of abstraction.”

They’re falling prey to the “curse of knowledge” – they know something and fail to put themselves into the shoes of a reader who doesn’t. (from The Marshall Memo)

For more valuable insights from this research, see How to Be a Better Writer: 6 Tips from Harvard’s Steven Pinker.

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Writing queries or questions? Send them to co-editor John Norton at ask.middleweb@gmail.com

MiddleWeb

MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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